Avoiding Stereotypes in Literature

Posted by Teresa M. on Nov 14, 2014 7:00:09 AM

Using literature to teach about other cultures can help students see how stereotypes are not always true. Multi-cultural literature is a great way to introduce similarities and differences. Using resources that don't contain stereotypes can helps students celebrate other cultures.

As students explore a variety of genres they are also exposed to quality literature and become critical thinkers. They are allowed to see different perspectives and biases. It is not uncommon for students to dislike a particular genre, but exposure allows them build background knowledge on a particular subject. One of my favorite genres to teach is biographies. Using biographies can be a great way to introduce the concept of bias.

Never under estimate the power of suggestion. Give students a chance to experience new genres. Try these most common genres with your students. Have students find stereotypes in each genre listed and see if they can find another example that is doesn't contain that stereotype. When reading with a purpose they being exposed to other genres as well as the concepts of bias and stereotypes.

Fairytales

Mysteries

Nonfiction

Historical Fiction

Biographies/Autobiographies

Science Fiction

Fantasy

Poetry

Realistic Fiction

As your students explore these genres they will begin to see that stereotypes are contained in literature, but not always. Next, I would have them compare and contrast two types of genres to help students' critical thinking skills. Does one genre have more stereotypes when compared to others? As you teach this concept, they are well on their way to understanding how stereotypes are not always correct.

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Integration Ideas, Literacy

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